Food Safety Tips for Your Fur-babies

There is nothing quite as wonderful as being surrounded by loved ones, the smell of delicious indulgences in the oven, and celebrating another year with holiday traditions. It is time to count your blessings and say thanks because Thanksgiving¬†here.¬† As you start to purr-pare your favorite holiday dishes, don’t forget about the hazards that certain foods create for the furry members of your family. Take the necessary precautions to ensure a happy and healthy holiday for everyone this year, including your cats and dogs.

Here are a few tips to make for a Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy too:

Turkey Talk
As much as we humans love a big bird for the holidays, turkey contains L-Tryptophan which as you may already know induces sleep. Everyone enjoys a good nap after dinner, but due to the size of pets, turkey can cause lethargy and listlessness. If you do choose to indulge your pet, make sure to only share a treat sized portion of white meat and check that the meat is well-cooked to eliminate the possibility of salmonella. Also, be sure to take off the skin and not include gravy as these fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis.

No Bones About It
The real danger with turkey lies with the bones. Turkey bones can splinter which can cause intestinal obstructions, tears, or internal bleeding.

Refrain From Stuffing
What would Thanksgiving be without stuffing? When preparing this customary dish, consider making it without raisins, onions, or sage. Raisins can cause kidney failure while onions can lead to canine anemia. While sage adds an extra boost of flavor to your dish, it contains essential oils which can lead to gastrointestinal upset or central nervous system depression in pets, especially cats who are sensitive to the effects of essential oils. Also, don’t forget to check and see if the broth you are using contains onions; this sneaky culprit could also make your dog sick.

Chocolate Lovers Nightmare
Chocolate may not be your weakness, but it is definitely your dogs. Your pup’s heart and nervous system are negatively affected by chocolate which can lead to seizures or death. The darker the chocolate, the more deadly it is for Fido. Better to be safe than sorry so please keep this sweet treat out of reach not only around the holidays, but year round.

A few other foods to be cautious about include macadamia nuts, raw bread dough, avocados, raw eggs, and alcohol.

It is best to stick with your pet’s usual diet as not to cause an upset stomach that could lead to vomiting or diarrhea. If you want to give your pet an extra special Thanksgiving, you can mix a bit of sweet potato or green beans in with their usual dog food or give them a peanut butter filled Kong to enjoy while everyone is at the dinner table.

If by chance your pet happens to get into something they are not supposed to, try giving them a dollop of plain yogurt or cottage cheese to soothe an inflamed digestive tract. If your pet seems to be suffering from something more severe than an upset stomach though, it is important to have your vet’s number or the ASPCA pet poison control center number (888-426-4435) handy, just in case.

Be aware and be prepared this holiday season to ensure another great Thanksgiving for you and your family (Fido included).

Written by Danielle Sather, Marketing & Development Intern at Wayside Waifs


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